Clark Howard

Fee frenzy: Cable providers push through up to 88% increase on broadcast TV, regional sports fees

The average American household pays $103.10 per month for traditional pay TV subscription — either to the local cable monopoly or to a satellite provider.

That’s $1,237.20 a year!

But to make matters worse, while the typical subscriber is paying those big bucks for programming, they’re also being nickel-and-dimed with increases that range from mild to wild on broadcast TV fees and regional sports fees.

Those can really add up over time.

RELATED: This new tool negotiates with your cable and internet provider to lower your bill

Here’s why your cable and satellite bills keep going up for the exact same channels!

Consumer Reports recently did a deep dive on fees from pay TV providers and what they found wasn't pretty.

While the cost of actual programming only goes up modestly from 3% to 4% a year, you’re likely to get sticker shock if you look at the increases on fees.

We’re talking price hikes that range anywhere from 14% to 88% across the industry!



  • Broadcast TV fee increased 20% from $5 to $6 per month.


  • New $4 monthly broadcast TV fee levied on select existing customers. This fee previously only applied to new customer accounts.
  • Regional sports fee increased by up to $2 a month.


  • Broadcast TV fee increased 18% from $7.50 to $8.85 per month.


  • Broadcast TV fee increased 14.2% from $7 to $8 per month.

Cox Communications

  • Broadcast TV fee increased from $4 to $7.50 a month — a whopping 87.5% increase.
  • Regional sports fee increased 22.6% from $4.20 to $5.15 a month on average.



  • Regional sports fee increased by up to $1 a month.

Dish Networks

  • Local channels fee increased by $2 a month.

Let’s reiterate that the increased fees listed above are separate from whatever you pay for the programming package of your choice!

Not surprisingly, many Americans have wised up to the endless onslaught of rising fees from both the cable and the satellite providers.

Cable operators alone lost nearly 1 million subscribers in 2017, a pace which represented more than twice the amount of cord cutting they saw in 2016.

Yet that’s really just a drop in the bucket for the industry. Some 94 million subscribers still held on to their cable subscription last year, which means cable is far from kaput.

Still, maybe you're ready to join the ranks of those who have fired their traditional pay TV provider. If that's the case, you'll want to check out our rundown of the best live streaming plans and deals for 2018.

You can read reviews of contenders like DirecTV NowYouTube TVPlayStation VueHulu with Live TV and Sling TV.

Because the reality is any one of them could give you all the content you want, all while leaving more jingle in your pocket every month than the cable and satellite guys!

What if you’re not ready to completely fire pay TV? That’s fine, too.

Try dialing back your pay TV package and supplement it with something cheaper like Netflix or Hulu’s basic plan without live TV. Either one will only run you $8 a month for a ton of content.

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